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Research Papers

Out-of-Autoclave Composite Fairing Design, Fabrication, and Test

[+] Author and Article Information
Steven A. Lane1

e-mail: Steven.Lane@kirtland.af.mil

John Higgins

e-mail: John.Higgins@kirtland.af.mil Air Force Research Laboratory, 3550 Aberdeen Avenue, SE, Kirtland AFB, NM 87117

Adam Biskner

e-mail: abiskner@loadpath.com

Greg Sanford

e-mail: gsanford@loadpath.com LoadPath LLC, 5555 Zuni Road, SE, Albuquerque, NM 87108

Chris Springer

e-mail: Chris.Springer@atk.com

Jerome Berg

e-mail: Jerome.Berg@atk.com Alliant Techsystems Space Systems Inc., ATK Aerospace Structures Division, Clearfield, UT 84016

1

Corresponding author

J. Manuf. Sci. Eng 133(3), 031020 (Jul 01, 2011) (11 pages) doi:10.1115/1.4004321 History: Received November 29, 2010; Revised May 12, 2011; Published July 01, 2011; Online July 01, 2011

This paper documents a recent R&D effort conducted by the Air Force Research Laboratory, Space Vehicles Directorate, to assess the feasibility of fabricating large composite launch vehicle fairings without the use of autoclaves. Two composite manufacturing approaches were demonstrated: vacuum-bag compaction with oven cure and vacuum assisted resin transfer molding with oven cure. For this project, a 2.8-m diameter fairing was developed for the Minotaur IV launch system. The prototype fairing was instrumented and tested up to qualification test loads. No damage or permanent deformations were observed. Measured strain and displacement data were compared to model predictions; trends and amplitudes were generally in agreement.

Copyright © 2011 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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References

Figures

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Figure 1

Minotaur IV payload fairing structure

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Figure 2

Fairing shell/ply design specifications

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Figure 3

Stress contour (MPa) for flight loads

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Figure 4

Stress contour (MPa) for qualification loads

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Figure 5

Boat-tail submodel stress contour (MPa) for flight loads

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Figure 6

Boat-tail submodel stress contour (MPa) for qualification loads

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Figure 7

Tool with lay-up and vacuum bagging ready for cure

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Figure 8

Design cure profile for upper fairing shells

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Figure 9

Measured cure profile for upper fairing shells (oven temperature and tool thermocouple data)

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Figure 10

Final setup for boat-tail segments

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Figure 11

Assembled fairing article

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Figure 12

Model of fairing within the test fixture

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Figure 13

Actual fairing within the test fixture

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Figure 14

Test article orientation and load direction (top view)

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Figure 15

Test loading setup

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Figure 16

Load case profile

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Figure 17

Load case 0 deg; hoop strain at 35.8 cm

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Figure 18

Load case 0 deg; axial strain at 2.2 deg.

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Figure 19

Load case 0 deg; axial strain at 182.2 deg.

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Figure 20

Load case 0 deg; tip displacement

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Figure 21

Load case 90 deg; hoop strain at 35.8 cm

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Figure 22

Load case 90 deg; axial strain at 90 deg.

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Figure 23

Load case 90 deg; axial strain at 270 deg.

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Figure 24

Load case 90 deg; tip displacement

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